AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls increased their South Division lead to double digits on Saturday night but it wasn’t easy.
It took a late third period goal from TJ Sarcona to give the Bulls a 3-2 triumph over the Texas Tornado in front of more than 3,000 fans at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The victory increased Amarillo’s lead to 10 points over the Topeka RoadRunners who moved into second place after a 4-3 win in Wichita Falls. The Tornado which lost their sixth in a row fell one point back of Topeka into third place.
Carter Penzien and TJ Sherman notched the other goals for Amarillo, while Ryan Cole collected two assists. Paul Berrafato stopped 22 of 24 shots to post the win in goal.
“It was a great win for our guys tonight, I thought we battled hard,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “Paul was stellar in goal for us again, and it wasn’t how we thought it was going to go but the guys found a way to win.”
The Amarillo Bulls struck early in the opening period when Carter Penzien converted a pass from Tyler Deresky and TJ Sherman at 3:19. The Bulls came out flying and had a half a dozen or more quality scoring chances but couldn’t beat goaltender Hunter Leisner. Near the end of the period, the Tornado tied the game on a deflection from the point on the power play. The Bulls outshot the Tornado 20-10.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the Bulls had several quality scoring chances including a breakaway from Mike Davis but couldn’t convert the opportunities. The Bulls outshot Texas 12-8 in the middle stanza.
TJ Sherman gave the Bulls a 2-1 advantage early in the third period when he fired a shot past Leisner. Ryan Cole and Gage Christianson earned assists on the goal. With less than four minutes remaining in regulation time, the Tornado tied the game on a delayed penalty call when a shot eluded goaltender Berrafato.
Just 19 seconds later, the Bulls caught a break when Ryan Cole shot hit the stick of TJ Sarcona and trickled across the goal line to give the home side the lead. Gage Christianson also had an assist on the play.
In the final minute of regulation the Tornado pulled their goaltender but the Bulls defense prevented the Tornado from getting any quality chances to tie game.
There were a total of four power play opportunities with the Tornado going 1 for 2 and the Bulls were 0 for 2. The Amarillo Bulls had a one-sided shot edge 45-24 including 13-6 in the third period.
The home stand continues for the Amarillo Bulls next weekend when they host the Corpus Christi IceRays for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, Birthday Party Packages and much more, call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.